Sleeping on airplanes (in cattle class)

Sep 7th, 2013, 07:58 PM
  #1  
tld
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Sleeping on airplanes (in cattle class)

I have a difficult time with jet lag, and continue to experiment with schedules, food/no food, light/no light, homeopathic remedies, etc. etc. to find what works best for me.

Meanwhile, I'm also trying to learn how to sleep on airplanes. This is especially relevant because I'm taking a red-eye from the midwest to central Europe in a couple of months. My biggest problem seems to be that I just can't sleep unless I'm almost horizontal. (The only time I've been able to sleep, even on an overnight flight, was when the back of the plane had an empty row and I could lie across 3 seats.)

I've tried Ambien and the like, but reacted badly. If anyone has any tips, tricks, or suggestions, I'd love to hear them.
tld is offline  
Sep 7th, 2013, 08:09 PM
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tld,
I'm so glad you posed this questions. I wanted to ask it earlier but wasn't sure where to post it. I can't sleep on long flights (will be traveling 12 hours on next flight) and could really use some advice. I'm going to follow this topic to see what advice you get. Thanks for asking.
wantgelato is offline  
Sep 8th, 2013, 01:26 AM
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You can purchase business class or first class seats on airlines that offer flat bed service. You will be hard pushed these days to find 3 empty economy seats that you can lie flat across. Premium economy doesn't help since the armrests are fixed, at least on the airlines I have travelled on.
Odin is offline  
Sep 8th, 2013, 04:42 AM
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Even if you had not reacted to Ambien, I would avoid it for most flights; recommended time one needs to be active is 6-8 hours and there is some talk that this may be extended.

Have you tried Benadryl? And I suggest any medication you try, you first try at home to see how you react.
gail is offline  
Sep 8th, 2013, 07:04 AM
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You can purchase business class or first class seats on airlines that offer flat bed service. You will be hard pushed these days to find 3 empty economy seats that you can lie flat across. Premium economy doesn't help since the armrests are fixed, at least on the airlines I have travelled on.

This.
sparkchaser is offline  
Sep 8th, 2013, 12:09 PM
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For years, I couldn't sleep on planes. I finally figured out that it was the reclining that kept me from sleeping. I started sitting up straight, folding out the "flaps" on the headrest and use one of those "u" shaped blow up pillows. With my head properly supported, I plug in my iPod and drift off.

In recent years, I also started using Ativan (Lorazapem) to deal with fear of flying. It is an anti-anxiety, anti-nausea medication. I like it because I don't get that drugged feeling, but it does relax me enough that sleep comes even more easily.
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Sep 8th, 2013, 02:02 PM
  #7  
tld
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Odin and Sparkchaser, I like your solution the best. Unfortunately, my travel budget doesn't have room for a $900 upgrade.
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Sep 8th, 2013, 05:10 PM
  #8  
tld
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I found an older Washington Post article that has some detailed tips for sleeping on planes, perhaps of interest:

http://articles.washingtonpost.com/2...exit-row-seats
tld is offline  
Sep 8th, 2013, 06:13 PM
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I upgrade when I can. I cannot sleep sitting up. Period.

I've looked at those u-shaped pillows but, due to a whiplash injury back in the early 70s, I cannot sleep on a pillow that has much thickness to it at all. Just looking at those u-shaped pillows makes my neck hurt! Ouch! Not for me.
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Sep 8th, 2013, 10:41 PM
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Odin and Sparkchaser, I like your solution the best. Unfortunately, my travel budget doesn't have room for a $900 upgrade.

I'd find that money because $900 to upgrade to business class is a helluva deal.
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Sep 9th, 2013, 11:02 AM
  #11  
TC
 
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"I'd find that money because $900 to upgrade to business class is a helluva deal."

No kidding! That is a steal.

In coach:
-I take a blow up pillow for my back to give the seat more lumbar support.
-I pull my roll-aboard out from under the seat to put my feet on. If I don't have one or its in the overhead, I empty out the seatback pocket, put on my slipper/socks and prop my feet in/on the pocket depending on the configuration.
-I take a Tylenol PM, put on my headphones and my eyemask and dare anyone to annoy me.

-The first two nights in the new location, I take a sleeping pill each night. I do the same when I return home. It works quite well to adjust to a new time zone.
-In your new location, sleep with the drapes open so that the daylight will wake you at a proper hour.
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Sep 9th, 2013, 11:23 AM
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If you're going the medication route to help you sleep on the plane, even with something as innocuous as Benadryl or Tylenol PM, no alcoholic beverages. That's a risky combination.
Jeff_Costa_Rica is offline  
Sep 9th, 2013, 12:01 PM
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Hire hospice with morphine. But seriously, I've been using the Tylenol PM. As soon as I eat my dessert, I take one. Get a window seat and avoid the seats in front of the emergency exit. They don't recline.
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Sep 9th, 2013, 02:19 PM
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How do you react to benadryl? If I take one then I'm okay but a little drowsy. Give me two and goodnight. I can function but I might drool a bit. If you're going to try that (or anything) do try it ahead of time to see how you react to it.

To help prevent jet lag I always schedule my sleeping on the plane for the destination. I want to sleep whenever it's night time at my destination. I also find it easiest to land in the evening so that by the time I'm at my hotel I have time to unwind and then it's bedtime. Even when I do sleep on the planes it's generally not the most restful sleep so I'm fairly tired by the time I arrive and falling asleep isn't that hard. Set an alarm to get up at a decent time the next morning.
Iowa_Redhead is offline  
Sep 9th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Well now we know why so many seat back pockets are broken.
NoFlyZone is offline  
Sep 9th, 2013, 06:22 PM
  #16  
TC
 
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Yep...it's me. Flying on every airline, every flight...sleeping in several seats on each of my hundreds of flights each day just to break down those well made seat back pockets. Oh well............
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Sep 9th, 2013, 08:04 PM
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Blow-up neck pillow + eye mask + earplugs + comfy blanket + 1/2 soma = 5-6 hours sleep. I actually slept 9 hrs on the way to and from China. 13hr flight is a killer without sleep.
michele_d is offline  
Sep 9th, 2013, 09:20 PM
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>>>Even if you had not reacted to Ambien, I would avoid it for most flights; recommended time one needs to be active is 6-8 hours and there is some talk that this may be extended.<<<

You didn't say what kind of Ambien you tried, but I take the old short-acting (4 hours), not the new time release Ambien CR(8 hours). You can get the old regular Ambien in either 5mg or 10mg. I think most people having problems with Ambien are taking Ambien CR.

>>>Just looking at those u-shaped pillows makes my neck hurt!<<<

I have a child's version with microbeads in it so it's not as thick as the adult pillows. The beads squish around so it wouldn't be thick in areas you don't want it to be. It weighs almost nothing. I also have one of the down travel pillow cases that folds into itself to make a travel pillow.
kybourbon is online now  
Sep 9th, 2013, 09:29 PM
  #19  
 
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I've been using the Tylenol PM. As soon as I eat my dessert, I take one.

I used to take Tylenol PM until the one day I was unable to fall asleep. I sat there for 6-7 hours unable to sleep with my head in a fog and my eyelids so very heavy. After that fun experience, I never took Tylenol PM on a plane again.
sparkchaser is offline  
Sep 10th, 2013, 10:58 AM
  #20  
 
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I do better with a window seat, bring a travel pillow and also tuck at least one leg in to the seat back pocket. Sometimes get lucky and the seat between is empty so can creep over on to that.

Best thing is to try and get plenty of sleep the few nights leading up to the trip.
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